About the book, The Library Girls of the East End
- Publisher: Boldwood Books (November 27, 2023)
- Language: English
- Paperback: 248 pages
When Cordelia accepts the post of head librarian in Silver Town Library, her mother is more than a little disapproving. The East End has high levels of poverty and illiteracy, and her mother says it’s no place for a woman of her status.
But Cordelia is determined to make a difference in these times of strife, and along with her colleagues, Jane and Mavis, she begins to help the local community, making sure everyone knows what the library can offer them.
And maybe even a romance will blossom, giving Cordelia the strength to make it through the chaos and destruction that constantly threatens their livelihood.
Against a background of war, air raids and rationing, it becomes clear the library is more than a building filled with books – it is the beating heart of a community refusing to be torn apart.
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About the author, Patricia McBride
Patricia McBride is the author of the very popular Lily Baker historical saga series. She is now writing a new WW2 series for Boldwood, based in the East End of London during the Blitz, the first title of which, The Library Girls of the East End, will be published in November 2023.
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As a child, libraries were my sanctuary, so I was excited to read The Library Girls of the East End, the first book in a new series by Patricia McBride. Set in the war-torn London of the 1940’s this novel is about three young women, Cordelia, Mavis, and Jane who all discover their best selves while working in the library.
Filled with romance, family drama, and the resilience of humanity this book is a lovely glimpse of a time that is getting further and further away from us with every breath. I loved that each of the three main characters had a distinct story and personality, and I applaud the author’s deftness at braiding them into a coherent whole. I appreciated that class differences were addressed, but never used as an excuse, and I was impressed that in addition to wonderful traits, every character also had a flaw they had to overcome.
Of course the library regulars – the Readers – were integral parts of the story. Whether it was the grumpy man who grumbled over the daily newspaper, or the children learning that books could take them beyond any walls, the community members provided the reason for Cordelia, Mavis, and Jane’s being employed at all, but also provided the tapestry against which the rest of the scenes were played. Without readers, after all, what good is a library?
In addition to reading the text of this novel, I also listened to the audiobook of this novel, which really made me pay attention to McBride’s flair for dialogue. Every character had a distinct way of speaking, which was reflected in print, but really sang in audio. Kudos to the narrator, Julie Maisey, whose pronunciation of the word “ate” specifically really made me feel immersed in the period of this book.
Overall, this is a satisfying read with three strong female characters at its heart.
Goes well with: mushroom risotto and a nice merlot.
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